Tim's One Photograph a Day

The Old Cloth Hall, Newbury, Berkshire.

Old Cloth Hall, Newbury. Workhouse and Museum.

Old Cloth Hall, Newbury. Now part of the West Berkshir Museum.

The Old Cloth Hall, now part of the West Berkshire Museum.

This is a building with a very interesting history. It was built as a U-shaped two storey building by local carpenter Richard Emes in 1628. The remainder of this original workhouse was demolished as long ago as 1829!

All aspects of cloth production, from the arrival of the fleece to the finished cloth (except spinning and cleansing) took place at the Cloth Hall, Newbury. However, this did not last and, by the end of the century, it was being used as a hospital. In 1706 it became a boys’ school.

In 1880, it was proposed to demolish the building and establish a fire station. A local historian, Walter Money, had been campaigning since 1877 for the building to become the town’s museum. However, by the end of the century, the building was all but completely derelict.

It was not until 1904 that Walter Money’s dream was realised. In October of that year, the old Cloth Hall, Newbury opened as the Newbury Borough Museum.

By 1927, the idea of extending the museum was approved. A new extension, linking the Cloth Hall with the adjacent 1720s Corn Stores, was opened in 1934. It was named in honour of Walter Money.

In 1998, the museum became the West Berkshire Museum. The Old Cloth Hall, Newbury, is now Grade I listed, and the adjacent Corn Stores is Grade II*. The museum was extensively refurbished from 2010-2014. The unlisted link building was completely replaced – partly to provide additional structural support to the older buildings either side.

Photograph Details

  • Taken: 31 Mar 2017
  • Camera: Canon 5D MkIII
  • Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm 1:2.8 L II USM
  • Focal Length 24mm
  • F/5.6
  • 1/250 Sec
  • ISO 100

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